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Brilliant Minds and Solar Power

by | Oct 20, 2020 | Parts of a Solar PV System

Just how reliable are solar panels?

To some people, the concept of being able to generate their own power by installing solar panels on the roof of their home is a rather new idea. Although today, you see more and more homes with solar PV systems, still many consider it to be a rather unknown subject.

Maybe they’re not sure if they can afford it, maybe they’re not sure how reliable solar panels are, maybe they have a lot of questions about solar, and so on.

Well, the good news is that today, solar panels and solar PV technology is not only very reliable but it’s also affordable. In fact, the primary reason U.S. homeowners are switching to solar is to reduce their energy costs.

So help answer any questions you may have about the reliability of solar panels, we’re not just going to tell you that they have been being used in outer space on satellites and space stations for over 50 years, but we thought it would be a great idea to give you a brief overview of the history os solar panels.

Solar panels and solar PV technology have been under research for over 100 years and some of the most brilliant minds of all time have not only played a part in their development, but they also foresaw solar power as a solution to the exact energy problems we face today.

An online science blog called Science Alert said:

“Alexander Graham Bell made his name as the inventor of the world’s the first practical telephone, but his genius wasn’t just limited to revolutionary inventions. He not only predicted today’s looming energy crisis – he also offered up a solution complete with solar panels and biofuel.”

Here you can see an original advertisement about solar panels being used to power homes as early as 1955:

First Solar Panel

And energy.gov had this to say about the first commercial use of solar panels:

“1954 Photovoltaic technology is born in the United States when Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson develop the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell at Bell Labs—the first solar cell capable of converting enough of the sun’s energy into power to run everyday electrical equipment.”

And if that wasn’t enough, take it from one of the father’s of electricity itself, Thomas Edison, and what he said about solar power:

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Thomas EdisonHere, you can see Thomas Edison holding one of the original batteries used to power Henry Ford’s prototype of an electric car.

Albert Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect (along with a paper on his theory of relativity).

As you can see, history and its greatest and most brilliant minds have all seen the potential of the sun’s energy and in one way or another have helped develop solar panels and solar PV systems as we know them today. 

Ricardo SolArticle by:
Ricardo Sol
Senior Editor, Ensolar